Grok AI Stories

X, formerly known as Twitter, has integrated Elon Musk’s AI chatbot, Grok, to enhance a new feature within its Explore section. As the X Engineering team disclosed through an announcement accompanied by screenshots, the app will now provide personalized summaries of trending stories. This feature will be available exclusively to X’s Premium subscribers, offering them concise summaries of posts associated with each trending story highlighted on the For You tab within Explore.

The “For You” page on X offers an organized selection of news and stories currently popular within your network, along with other recommended content. This allows X users to stay updated on platform discussions without having to scroll through their timelines endlessly.

For example, a TechCrunch reader might find stories about Apple’s upcoming iPad event, Microsoft’s security updates, and the issue of burnout among AI engineers featured on their For You page today. When users tap on any of these stories to explore associated X posts, they’ll notice a new addition: a story summary displayed at the top of the page, providing a quick overview of its content.

The Grok-powered summary kicks off with a clever observation in the AI burnout story instance: “AI engineers are facing burnout and rushed rollouts due to the competitive race in the tech industry, as companies prioritize investor satisfaction over solving actual problems.”  After lightly touching upon the problem of this AI “rat race,” the summary concludes with: “critics argue that proper safeguards and thoughtful innovation should not be afterthoughts in the pursuit of AI investments …”

A disclaimer appears beneath the summary, adding a touch of humor. It advises users: “Grok can make mistakes; verify its outputs.”

The concept of summarizing trends isn’t novel, but the approach taken by X represents a fresh twist. Under its previous leadership, Twitter initiated a similar trend annotation feature in 2020, although without the assistance of an AI bot. Instead, Twitter manually added headlines and descriptions and pinned representative tweets to provide additional context for daily trends. However, this rollout was inconsistent, with only select trends receiving such treatment.

Now, Grok’s Stories—the name given to the summaries—concisely sum up all the top news featured on X’s For You page.

Access to xAI’s chatbot Grok is a persuasive motive for users to opt for premium subscriptions. By subscribing to the Premium or top-tier Premium+ plans, users gain access to Grok via a tap on the bottom middle button of the app. Grok, characterized by its snarky and “rebellious” persona, stands out from other AI chatbots like ChatGPT due to its exclusive and real-time access to X data.

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Tech journalist Alex Kantrowitz shed light on Elon Musk’s vision for AI-powered news on X in a recent post published on the platform. Based on an email exchange with the X owner, Kantrowitz’s insights reveal that Grok’s summaries will primarily draw from conversations happening on X. Interestingly, Grok will not analyze article text, even if that’s what users discuss on the platform. This approach may present a challenge in accurately portraying the news, as user conversations may primarily reflect reactions or opinions rather than factual updates. Kantrowitz refers to this strategy as “controversial” but acknowledges its potential.

Journalists are encountering AI news summaries in various domains, including from startups. For instance, Arc’s latest web browser incorporates an AI summary feature, while former Twitter engineers are building Particle, an AI news summary service. The impact of these developments on traffic to news sites remains uncertain. Kantrowitz believes users might “delve deeper into the source material once their curiosity is sparked.” However, it’s conceivable that some news outlets could face closure as page views decline due to AI summaries, potentially reducing the sources available for AI bots like Grok to summarize in the long term.

Some news publishers are forging partnerships with AI providers to address this challenge, such as OpenAI’s recent collaboration with the Financial Times, while others like Axel Springer, the AP, and Le Monde have made similar moves. In X’s case, it gains access to news content through the conversations surrounding it, bypassing the need for partnerships to access the news itself. This approach is both innovative and concerning, particularly regarding misinformation.

Grok’s Stories are now being introduced to Premium X subscribers. Premium access begins at $8 per month, excluding app store purchases.